Since this week’s questions are on the first-timer side of things I’m choosing to ignore them (well, not completely, but for the most part) and just chat about random things that I thought of while reading. I also recall some of the reactions from my first read.
“Second touch this afternoon was easy. But we wouldn’t have gotten so far, so fast, if not for Bug’s quick action yesterday. What a stupid, reckless, idiotic, ridiculous damn thing to do! I haven’t the words to express my admiration.”
The beginning of this week’s section contains my perhaps favourite bit in this whole 500+ -page affair: the “Toast Scene”. It is simply so marvellous. We see the fun side of the Bastards, as well as get a glimpse of their dark side, just so show us they are not always merry and bright. And these every-day moments are also the thing I like best in the book: the way they joke around, tease each other, do things like changing appearances with such detail yet confident casualty – and the immense warmth that they share. If they ever make a movie of this book (which I half hope they would not, because there is a great chance they’d completely ruin it) this scene should absolutely be included. In the DVD extras if nowhere else.
Question two was about the description of liquors. Now, I’m Finnish, and if there is something Finland is usually connected with, it’s liquor. Although I’m not a heavy drinker myself, I enjoy my drinks. It follows that I also like to hear about new drinks – the stranger the better – and I love it that this book offers me that as well as all the other entertainment. As I was reading a couple of days ago, I came to the decision I would prefer Camorri beer over Verrari. But then again, were both offered, I’d like to get a taste of both. And if I could get a cask of Austershalin, well…
“If your father says ‘Bark like a dog,’ I say ‘What breed, your honour?'”
Nazca Barsavi is the kind of woman I’d like to be friends with. She’s sharp and cautious, just as Locke says, and has a lot of style. She and Locke are too good friends to get married, I think, but she would make a splendid Gentleman Bastard were her father not who he is. First time reading Capa Barsavi give Locke permission to court Nazca I grinned like a maniac and probably said out loud, “Oh, you’re in trouble now!” It’s hilarious to see Locke’s reaction. I think he’s brain was very busy at that moment trying to figure out how to get out of the mess, the little oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit that we all hear when we’re screwed doing little to help him think.
Just a detail I picked up, and nothing very significant – but Chains called Barsavi “Ven” when he was introducing Locke. It makes sense, them being old friends, but Barsavi addresses him as “Chains”. I’m wondering whether it is a nickname from far back, whether Chains adopted the name after coming to Camorr and it was catchy enough to stick, or whether it is actually at least part of his real name? I find “Ven” more informal than “Chains”, but as I said, knowing what we know there is really no guessing.
To return to the idea of Locke Lamora the Movie, there is another thing besides the “Toast Scene” I would love to see: the hand signs. I’m so very enamoured by them. In the group of Bastards they must be so subtle, since they know each other so well that they can catch even the barest hint. And what a wonderful communication system! I used to play a card game with some friends, where the players were sitting opposite to their pair and communicating their cards through predetermined signs. They didn’t need to be hand signs, but those were popular – and it was sometimes hard to spot them, particularly when you had to be discreet about them so the other pairs would not learn what your sign was. It was great fun, although I was not very good at it.
The Midnighters! I almost panicked the first time the two turn up in Salvara’s study and give the game away. The relief when the secret behind this is revealed… It was great. It was awesome. And the preparations for this are so much fun to follow. The aftermath of the scene, and now the end of this post, gets a giggle out of me every time:
“By the Crooked Warden, I never heard such self-pity dripping from the mouth of a wealthy man! Cheer up! Richer and cleverer than everyone else, right?”
“Richer and cleverer and walking very funny, yes.”